How to Plant Carrots- Obedience
This mornings question: What is the fourth commandment? Honor thy father and thy mother. Honor in that catechism answer means to obey. Every one of Christ's children must learn to obey. To obey does not mean to do what you are told. It means to do exactally as you are told. There is a difference there. Maybe this story will help to make that clear to you.
While the great St. Francis of Assisi was alive two men came to the door of his monastery and asked if they could join his order - the Friars Minor. St. Francis asked them several questions and finally said, "Will you keep the vow of poverty? Both the men said they would. "Will you keep the vow of chastity?" asked Francis. "We will," replied the men. Finally St. Francis asked, "Will you keep the vow of obedience?" Both said "Yes." "Then come with me," said St. Francis, and he led the two men into the garden. In the garden the two men got the correct idea of the religious life and of obedience. St. Francis gave them each, of all things, two carrots and said, "Plant these." The two began to dig into the ground. "Now," said the Saint, "I do not want them just planted. I want them planted upside down." One man planted his carrots upside down. The other man scratched his head and said, "Oh, no, Father Francis, you are a very holy man and know many things, but you do not know how to plant carrots. Here's how you do it. You plant them this way." And he planted his right side up. St. Francis smiled at him tolerantly and said, "Young man, you would make a very good gardener, because you plant carrots right side up, but you will not make a good Franciscan unless you learn to obey. Now plant them upside down. You must learn that to obey means to do exactly what you are told to do." But St. Francis was not finished with his lesson on obedience. He said, "What a shame! I've made you spoil the carrots that were meant for our supper. There are some nice ones in the next garden. Jump over the fence to steal two of the carrots. Immediately St. Francis called him back and finished the lesson. "To plant carrots upside down is one thing. To steal them is another. You must obey your superiors - but only in things which are not sinful."
That story shows that obedience means that we should do exactly as we are told as long s we are not told to sin. It does not mean that we may do the thing any old way that we please. If we are told to do our homework now, that means that we must do it now and not after we finish the chapter of the novel we are reading. If we are told to be home at seven o'clock, we do not obey if we just straggle home when we are ready. We must be home on time. If our parents wanted us home at 7:15 they would say 7:15. But they said seven and that meant seven, IF we are told to wash the dishes, we do not obey if we put them away without being dried properly. To be obedient we must do exactly what we are told. That means that we must do the things we are told to do (and not something else); when we are told to do it (not when we feel like it) and in the proper manner (not carelessly or sloppily). If you do not do all of these things you cannot call yourselves obedient. Both of the men in the story planted the carrots in the ground but one was obedient and the other was not. One did exactly as he was told. The other did it the way he felt like doing it. Remember this next time you are told to do something. If you are told to plant carrots upside down, then plant them upside down. It is not your mistake if you do what you are told to do. You obeyed - and to obey means to do exactly what you are told to do.
From Heavenwards; Instructional Stories in Religion
By: Wilfrid Diamond +Imprimatur 1941
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There were once five peas in one pod; they were green and the pod was green, and so they believed that the whole world must be green also, which was a very natural conclusion. The pod grew, and the peas grew ; they sat all in a row. The sun shone without and warmed the pod, and the rain made it clear so that they could see through it. It was warm and pleasant in broad daylight, and dark at night, as it generally is. And the peas, as they sat in a row, grew bigger and bigger, and more thoughtful, too. They all felt sure there must be something for them to do, but they didn't know what it was.
"Are we to sit here forever?" asked one; "shall we not become hard by sitting so long? There must be something outside this pod ; I am sure of it." And so weeks passed by ; the peas became yellow, and the pod became yellow. "All the world is turning yellow, I suppose,"they said, and perhaps they were right.
Suddenly they felt a pull at the pod. It was torn off the vine and held in human hands ; then it was slipped into the pocket of a jacket in company with other full pods.
"Now we shall soon be let out," said one,—just what they all wanted. "I should like to know which of us will travel farthest," said the smallest of the five; "we shall soon see now."
"What is to happen will happen," said the largest pea.
"Crack!" went the pod as it burst, and the five peas rolled out into the bright sunshine. There they lay in a child's hand. A little boy was holding them tightly ; he said they were fine peas for his pea shooter. And immediately he put one in and shot it out.
"Now I am flying out into the wide world," said the pea ; "catch me if you can ;" and he was gone in a moment.
"I," said the second, "intend to fly straight to the sun; that is a pod that lets itself be seen, and it will suit me exactly," and away he went.
"Wherever we find ourselves we will go to sleep," said the two next; "we shall still be rolling
onwards;" and they did certainly fall on the floor and roll about before they were put into the pea shooter; but they were put in, for all that. "We will go farther than the others," said they. "What is to happen will happen," exclaimed the last pea, as he was shot out of the pea-shooter. As he spoke, he flew up against an old board under a garret window, and fell into a little crack, which was almost filled up with moss and soft earth. The moss closed itself about him, and there he lay a captive, indeed, but not unnoticed by God.
"What is to happen will happen," said he to himself. Within the little garret lived a poor woman who had to go out to work every day. She had to leave her only daughter at home alone because the child was very delicate. For a whole year the little girl had kept her bed, and it seemed as though she could neither die nor live.
"She is going to her little sister," said the woman.
"I had two children. God took one of them to His home in Heaven. The other was left to me, but I suppose she will soon go to her sister in Heaven."
However, the sick girl remained where she was; she lay quietly and patiently in bed all day long while her mother was away from home at work. Spring came, and early one morning the sun shone brightly through the little window and threw his rays over the floor of the room. Just as her mother was going to work, the sick girl, looking at the window pane, said :
"Mother, what can that little green thing be that peeps in at the window? It is moving in the wind."
Her mother stepped to the window and half opened it. "Oh !" she said, "there is actually a little pea here which has taken root and is putting out its green leaves. How could it have got into this crack? Well, now, here is a little garden for you to amuse yourself with."
So the bed of the sick girl was drawn nearer to the window that she might see the budding plant ; and the mother went out to her work.
"Mother, I believe I shall get well," said the sick child in the evening; "the sun has shone in here so brightly and warmly to-day, and the little pea is growing so well, I shall get on better, too, and go out into the warm sunshine again."
"God grant it !" said the mother, but she did not believe it would be so. She propped up with a little stick the green plant which had given her child such pleasant hopes of life, so that it might not be broken by the wind. She tied a piece of string to the window-sill and to the upper part of the frame, so that the pea tendrils might twine round it when the pea shot up. And it did shoot up ; indeed, it might almost be seen to grow from day to day.
"Now, really, here is a flower coming," said the mother one morning. And at last she began to hope that her little sick daughter might get well. She remembered that for some time the child had spoken more cheerfully, and during the last few days had raised herself in bed in the morning to look with sparkling eyes at her little garden, which contained only the one little pea plant.
A week later the sick girl sat up for the first time, and she felt quite happy at the open window in the warm sunshine. Outside the window grew the little plant, and on it was a pink pea blossom in full bloom. The little maiden bent down and gently kissed the delicate leaves. This was like a feast day to her.
"Our Heavenly Father, Himself, has planted that pea and made it grow so as to bring joy to you and hope to me, my beloved child," said the happy mother. She smiled at the flower as if it had been an angel from God.
Catholic Education Series Vol. 4
+ Imprimatur 1910
The Little Lamb
CHRISTINA, a poor little girl of about ten years, was in the woods gathering strawberries. It was a very hot afternoon; and in the open, sunny part of the wood, where there was not a breath of air, the heat was very great. Her light straw bonnet scarcely protected her from the burning rays of the sun.
The clear drops stood upon her forehead, and her cheeks glowed like fire; still she con-tinued diligently to gather the strawberries, without ever looking up. "For," said she, cheerfully, as she wiped her forehead with her handkerchief, "they are for my poor, sick mother. The money for which I shall sell my berries, will procure some little things to do her good, I will buy her some nice tea and an orange,"
Towards evening, with her basket full of strawberries, she went through the woods back home. It began to grow very dark. The drops of rain fell faster and faster, and the heavy peals of thunder resounded in the distance. As she came out of the woods a tempest arose, the rain beat furiously against her, and black clouds arose in the fiery evening sky, towering over one another like mountains.
Christina knew that the lightning most frequently strikes the highest trees, and there-fore she sought shelter at a distance from them, beneath some hazel-bushes; and here she stood waiting until the storm should pass away. But suddenly she heard among the bushes close at hand, a mournful cry, almost like that of a little child.
The storm and rain and thunder and lightning did not prevent this good little girl from going to see what it was. She went, and lo! there was a tender little lamb, all dripping with rain and shivering in the storm, "Ah, you poor little creature!" said Christina; "you must not perish—come, I will take you home with me."
And she took the lamb carefully in her arms, and as soon as the rain ceased, she hur-ried home with it to her little cottage. "Oh, dear mother!" said she, as soon as she entered their clean, tidy little room, "look what I have found! Look what a beautiful little sheep! Oh, how lucky I was ! What care I shall take of it. It shall be my only pleasure."
"Child," said the sick mother, raising herself up in bed, and supporting her head on her hand, "in your joy you forget that this lamb must have an owner. It has only strayed away, and, therefore, we must give it back again. It probably belongs to the rich farmer over the hill. It is not right to keep other people's property a single night in the house. So you had better carry it home tonight."
"What nonsense!" cried a rough voice through the open window. "It is folly to be so particular!" The man who said this was a mason, who, while outside repairing the wall of their cottage, had overheard their conversation. The mother and daughter looked at him in alarm; but he continued: "Why do you make such strange faces?” I only speak for your good. We will cut up the lamb and divide it.
" We shall have a couple of little roasting pieces from the flesh, and the skin, too, is worth something. The rich farmer has more than a hundred fine large sheep; and, doubtless, he will never feel the loss of this poor little thing. So I will kill it immediately. And you need not be afraid. No one sees us, and you may trust me; I can be as silent," said he, flinging a trowel full of mortar on the wall—" as silent as a wall."
Christina was shocked at what the mason said. The thought how wicked it would be to keep the lamb, now became clear to her. " You are wrong," said she to the mason. " Though no man sees us, yet God does ! But you, dearest mother, are right—and I only wonder that what you said did not occur to myself. Gladly, in-deed," continued she, while the tears started into her eyes, "gladly would I have kept the little lamb! Yet we ought to be willing to obey our good God."
She wrapped the lamb in her apron, and went with it towards the farmer's, though the rain had not yet quite ceased, and the sun had almost set.
To be continued next week....
From the Metropolitan Second Reader 1883
A blessed Friday to you all! We are starting a new 'season' here at St. Fiacre's Farm with a Friday blog series for our young farmer readers. Each week we will feature a lovely, oldie but goodie, story about farm life, the great outdoors, animals or the like. Along with this story we hope to add a free downloadable activity sheet to go along with the story. Jjoin us every week to see what is new. For Pope Pius XII says, "The farm is the ideal nursery for the family", and we hope that family young and old (er) will benefit from our little homesteading journey. Without further ado....
THE FOUR SEASONS
“I WISH it were always winter!” said Ernest, who had returned from a sleigh-ride, and was making a man out of snow. His father desired him to write down this wish in his notebook; and he did so.
The winter passed away, and the spring came. Ernest stood with his father by the side of a bed of flowers, and gazed with delight upon hyacinths, the violets, and the lilies of the valley. “These are the gifts of spring,” said his father; “but they will soon fade and disappear.” “Ah!” said Ernest, “I wish it were always spring!” “Write that down in my book,” said his father; and Ernest did so.
The spring passed away, and summer came Ernest went with his parents, and some of his playmates, into the country, and spent the day there. Everywhere the meadows were green and decked with flowers, and in the pastures the young lambs were sporting around their mothers.
They had cherries to eat, and passed a very happy day. As they were going home, the father said, "Has not the summer its pleasures too, my son?" "Oh, yes," said Ernest; "I wish it were always summer!" And this wish Ernest wrote down in his father's book.
At last autumn came. Ernest again went with his parents into the country. It was not so warm as in the summer, but the air was mild and the heavens were clear. The grape-vines were heavy with purple clusters; melons lay upon the ground in the gardens; and in the orchards the boughs were loaded with ripe fruit.
"This fine season will soon be over," said the father, "and winter will be upon us." "Ah!" said Ernest, "I wish it would stay, and always be autumn!"
"Do you really wish so?" said his father. "I do, indeed," replied Ernest. "But," contin-ued his father, taking at the same time his note-book out of his pocket, "see what is writ-ten here."
Ernest looked and saw it written down, "I wish it were always winter." "Now turn over another leaf," said his father, " and what do you find written there ?" " I wish it were al-ways spring." "And farther on, what is written?" "I wish it were always summer."
"And in whose hand-writing are these words?" "They are in mine," said Ernest. "And what is now your wish?" "That it should always be autumn." " That is strange," said his father. "In winter, you wished it might always be winter; in spring, you wished it might always be spring and so of summer and of autumn. Now, what do yon think of all this?"
Ernest, after thinking a moment replied, "I suppose that all seasons are good.'' "That is true, my son: they are all rich in blessings, and God, who sends them to you, knows far better than we what is good for us. Had the "wish you expressed last winter been granted, we should have had no spring, :no summer, no autumn.
"You would have had the earth always covered with snow, so that you might have had sleigh-rides and made snow-men. How many pleasures would you have lost in that event! It is well for us that we cannot have all things as we wish, but that God sends us what seems good to him." - The Metropolitan Second Reader Published in 1883 ~*~ By A Member of the Order of the Holy Cross
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